This is a collection of minor game settings for the occasional need to try something else. One-offs can be much more bizarre than your usual settings, feature horror, silliness or cute furry aliens - or all of that and more.
There is no required format. The following points at least shouldn’t be missed:
- a short description of the setting, and the mood
- who are the PCs
- what adventure(s) can they take part in
That’s it. Add your own, and if you use them for more games, it’s fine.
Additional Ideas (11)
Many were the adventures of the brave crew of Enterprise, the captain and his trusted lieutenants. But what was happening, while they were asleep? The universe never lacks in surprises, after all. Unfortunately, the Starfleet trusts not all of its personnel equally. It would appear, that boredom is your fate.
There is only one rule in the game: The captain must never know.
All other rules ("Everything must look normal in the morning", "Most of the crew must survive") are derivative of this one. The mood can range from lighthearted to dark ironic to downright silly.
- general technical difficulties
- attack by evil aliens
- attack by evil nymphomaniac aliens
- sudden unexplained transport thousands of lightyears away
- ghosts of the red shirts start to rise
- sleepwalking crew
- your private deal with the Ferengi goes south
- strange energy beings that piss you off
- the Borg of a damaged cube have adopted a Christmas cycle for a change
- Q drops by and finds nobody of consequence to chat with... better keep him entertained
The setting can be one of:
- a colonization ship flying to the stars, with most of the crew hibernating
- a Full Reality(tm) entertainment environment/replacement holiday resort
- a virtual prison
- a research facility researching some of the above things
In any case, the PCs are the guarding/observing personnel attending to the sleepers. They have certain privileges (powers if you will), but cannot truly act against their charges, unless specifically allowed by their superiors. There can be some dual online-offline adventuring.
- somebody's breaking the rules - whether it's special abilities, illegal implants, or sheer force of will (insanity?), someone hacked the system. The perp can be anything from a harmless voyeur, to a violent criminal... or killer.
- that shouldn't happen - so many minds connected together have some rather unforeseen effects, and laws of nature turn out to have more rules than suspected.
- this isn't ours - somebody was attracted from outside, and wants to find out about this alternate reality. Could be just a hacker. Could be something else.
I have used this idea, but for the start of a campaign not as a single nights game. However it can definately be adapted into a one shot scenario.
- It can be one of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, or even Supers. Really any setting can warm up to this.
- The group/ party are students in an academy, school, guild, etc. This learning center surrounds their daily lives for multiple reasons. Possibly their society is run mainly by guilds, military learning, etc. They are placed in small groups to learn how to handle outside stress, how to work together in an abnormal environment, etc.
- The party is given a task that they must complete, given a certain time limit which should encompass the entire night. Failure to do so results in being expelled,etc from the respective association.
- They are outside of their element, nowhere near their local town/ community or usually environment. Best way to handle this is magical transport, technological transport, etc. They should know little of the 'how or why' and just need to know the what, who, where, and when to get the task completed.
- The group is sent to a small village, town, outpost to search for missing people. (Children or elderly are usually the best to get emotion.) They must track them down, find them and determine the reasoning behind their capture. In the process capturing the assailants. Possible reason, kidnapping people who know a secret.
- Similar to the previous hook, The group is sent to a small village, town, outpost to search for missing people. Except instead of children a noticable number of adult men are missing. Same as above, find them, the reason why. Possible reason, an outside source needs them for some task. Labor, ritual, or a creature needing food source.
- Escort. The group is sent to escort a highly popular (unpopular) person, a member of nobility, etc. Unknown to them the person they are escorting is a fake and the real escort is ambushed a few days ahead of their caravan. They can choose to abandon their task, as it was a false task to begin with, or follow the true person who was kidnapped. Hopefully retrieving said person. Possible reason, the true person being escorted left a day in advance to throw off possible kidnappers but a traitor tipped off kidnappers to the ruse. Reasons for kidnap, random, vandetta, or the person taken had an item of some importance.
This works best with a group of mid level PCs (5-7th). Make sure that the majority of the group has a good sense of humor
Ok here is the set up. The PCs have just ventured into a large city and have noticed something odd. Everyone is stangely silent, and even more odd everyone they meet is going out of thier way to not make any noise at all. Then it happens: a nail is dropped and the entire city breaks into one show tune style song. At this point have the PCs roll a Fort save (55) Upon thier failure, every time one of them speaks, it must be in song!
In order to break this curse, the PCs must venture to the Shadow Swamp and persuade the night hag/12th sor. to lift her spell. Along the way, the group will meet up with others who are under this vile curse. (an orchish raiding party coming out to Drowning Pool's "Let the Bodies hit the Floor" is a frighting thing indeed)
The reason for this curse? It seems that Markos the Dashing, a famous bard traveled through the city months ago and offended the local ruler. In return for this offense, Markos was humilated and ran out of town. Markos then ventured into the swamp and cut a deal with the night hag.
I have ran this adventure twice and both times have had hysterical results. Is there anybody out there that could help me add to it?
I couldn't imagine running this with any group I have been with. You would have to be a talented group because I would force my group to sing, karaoke anybody? LOL
I could always see, in situations like this, that there would be a couple entrepreneurs in each city that would take advantage of it. These would pray the curse would never be lifted and might even try to stop any that would attempt it. Why? Income. The Singing City of Shagrala. It would become a sensation. The hub of theatre, the bowl of creative inspiration, everything can be a song after all. I see many of the most famous bards in the land would have their start there. Theatres of all sorts sprouting about. Travelers would venture from all over the world to visit this nest of song. It would be on everybody's lists of must see places. I would guarantee that nobles and kings from distance lands would even want to make the trip to see for themselves this wonder of human entertainment. The best thing is, not only do they have live entertainment for every type of interaction, they become part of it themselves.
What a fabulous idea. I can't even comprehend all the options at this point for something like this. It could sprout to a city of any type thing, fighting, drinking, gambling, the ideas are limitless even if somebody doesn't like the singing idea. Gambling, have the need to put a wager on anything. Etc etc etc
Some of these could help you. You should make them mostly bonuses, rather than penalties in this case. The only punative ones should be for people not "following the spirit" of the game and those who have talent, but choose not to use it.
It was a normal day like any other, before the air raid sirens echoed across the still afternoon air, and the bustling crowds changed from causal movement to frenzied panic.
This is a different spin on a post apocalypse setting (Such as Darwin's, World Dead lands, Rifts, etc..) in that the apocalypse is happening NOW not years ago in the past.
This allows Gm's to present the "ancient history" that most of the players characters have heard about in a dramatic fashion that will leave more of an impact on the group.
-The characters could be virtually any Jane/Joe average working stiff caught up in events beyond their control, or perhaps a soldier on shore leave. Maybe even a child on their way home from school.
The main focus of the game would be to survive the initial riots/panic and immediate effects of which ever brand of Armageddon you prefer, and eventually reach a place of safety. (underground fallout shelter, mountain refuge, remote island etc..)
A enterprising GM could even let players play as their main characters great, great, grandmothers/grandfathers, or relatives of them to add a more personal touch to the adventure.
-Where exactly is the closest (or best) "safe area?" and How will the pc's go about getting to it?
-Unless the PC's are orphans with the personalities of dead fish, they'll likely have family and friends they're worried about. Do they try to make contact with and rescue them? Or count on them to find their own way to safety? (Especially if they're dozens or hundreds miles away in another city, or even country.)
-Do the PC's have any powerful enemies who will try to take this opportunity of social chaos to get revenge upon them? (perhaps fatally?)
-While fleeing for their lives the PC's will no doubt run across numerous others who look to them for guidance or rescue. How many will they try to save?
-Some of the people they do wind up traveling with will no doubt be more concerned with their own safety then that of the group as a whole, how will they handle these individuals without resorting to drastic measures?
-The player group is no doubt not the only band of "survivors" how will other bands take to them heading for "their rightful sanctuary," or trying to loot the same store for needed supplies?
-Once they do reach this "Safe zone" it may very well have a limited capacity, (such as a fallout shelter with only enough supplies for X amount of people) what will the PC's do about any extras in their group there simply isn't room for?
-What if this safe zone is already occupied by other (unsavory) types that aren't willing to let the group join them, despite their being enough room/supplies?
Heather had always had a love for dragons bordering on an obsession. Almost everything about them fascinated her, if only she could speak to one first hand. Perhaps now that she had volunteered to be the dragons yearly sacrifice she would at last get her chance.
This adventure is better suited for a single player looking for more of an far out interaction/role playing adventure rather than a hack and slash one. (Thanks Cheka man for the inspiration behind this idea.)
They are playing a woman (or possibly man?) that after having been fascinated by dragons for all their life to the extend of dreaming as one for a mate; finally decided to get a closer look or die trying at one by volunteering to be the yearly sacrifice for a small village to placate a dragon in the near by mountains.
Given the dragon is more used to sacrifices screaming and kicking rather than greeting it and asking questions it's interested long enough to post pone its meal out of curiosity.
This dragon is also lonely, have grown tired of prospective mates being more interested in it's treasure, or magical power than in it's personality, perhaps this mere mortal could unwittingly endear the beast into a life long love?
-How do you convince a dragon you'd rather talk to it than be eaten? What about all those burning questions everyones had about dragons but never dared ask?
-If the dragon finds the sacrifice more interesting than palatable what next? Are they to remain in the dragons lair forever after? (most dragon lairs aren't suitable for human habitation especially in the winter.)
-If the dragon falls in love with the sacrifice will they turn themselves into human and seek a life among the small folk? (Using it's riches to acquire land and perhaps become a king?) Or perhaps polymorph the sacrifice into a dragon themselves so they may share the lair together?
-What of the valiant knight riding to slay the dragon? Will he listen to the delusional damsel pleas to leave the lair and not attempt to slay the fearsome beast?
After the members of SG-1 became galactic celebrities in their own right, it became increasingly difficult to send them on the more sensitive missions. The safety of Earth needs more than respecting the wishes of dead civilizations and egoistic aliens. Not all of the stealing happened without the knowledge of the Stargate Command. And some of those incredible adventures you see on TV are indeed impossible... unless someone secretly helps out.
The characters are a highly trained blackops team. Depending on their mission, they may be thieves, saboteurs, even assassins, not rarely acting against declared allies. If they are caught, their existence will be denied, and the means to an easy suicide are part of their equipment package. It's all for Earth.
This one-off game is good for an introduction into the universe, or an alternative look on the setting if the existing game becomes too stale.
Goa'uld are excluded from that. You can take anything you want from them as the TAU'RI and GOA'ULD are at war.
Dragons don't care for people, but they can be useful. Humans say dragons are born only once in a hundred years. That may be true. What is true, is that every hundred years are newly born dragons subjected to the Test.
They are turned into a human form and left at a random part of the monkey's lands. There they should study, learn and finally agree on one specific intervention which they will then perform.
Dragons are not cooperative creatures. The Test is the introduction to dragon society, where rivalries are rampant, but cooperation sometimes necessary. The young will be judged by their choices, may attract mentors, and their first enemies.
There are no rules for what they do, as long as it is in accord with serpentine ideals. While displays of power are loved by every dragon, manipulation is a worthier skill. If the newborn fail, it is just the humans that pay the price.
This plot is for the GMs, that are not afraid of shaking up their game world. It allows the players to create a major change in the world, perhaps wallowing a little in the less moral areas. While they have the power to destroy nearly everything, creativity is asked of them. To burn another castle is worthless and boring. To quietly topple a royal family, which provokes a war in four other kingdoms is more interesting, as would be the aided rise of a new religion or the return of an old one. One famous drakeling revealed his identity and proclaimed himself a god. He was summarily eaten.
So that's the deal: create some deep and lasting change in the world, while hidden in the disguise of nothing lesser than a human. You will be judged depending on what, how and why you did it.
After the change
The one night game over, the players can start a new campaign in this world (for the more reckless groups, just continue). The Game Master can have fun with elaborating on the actual effects of the intervention, especially the unexpected ones. The players in turn can enjoy the fruits of their labor and keep guessing what they had caused in the end and what happened of the dragons.
The Emperor (king, khan, whatever) has died and as a precaution for the afterlife created statues in the image of his personal guard and important servants, to serve him in his afterlife (think the famous Terracotta Figures).
The PC's awaken as ghosts. They are in the burial chamber of their Emperor, where some graverobbers have just clumsily destroyed their statues. It is their mission, with very limited powers, to avenge this insult on their employer and make sure nothing is stolen (killing all robbers is preferred). Talk about a relaxing afterlife.
Extending the scenario:
- the original PCs were the authors of (a part of) the grave, they have designed some of the defenses. Stings quite a bit, if the thieves got through them.
- the statues in their image were supposed to be honorary - looks like the bastard has turned them into servants in his afterlife! Now they are bound to do their duty (or it is their only way out of bondage), but a little revenge wouldn't be out of question.
- maybe they can possess the thieves and get a new life instead...
- and maybe this is some complicated ploy by that tricky Emperor to get back into life. Could make more than one adventure.
The Maze is what the natives call it. It is an endless stretch of streets, walls, houses and businesses, a realm of nothing but city. Some Maze areas are post modern/ modern/ or futuristic. Some have the feel of 16th century London, 13th Century Byzantium, or 1st Centry Rome. Most are a bronze age buildings of adobe (mud and plaster) and stone.
There is little here but city. A few roofs are gardens, but soil is rare. There is often meat on a stick (mostly rats and pigeons). The water cisterns are important. Resources are tight, so local "lords" keep track of things in their neighborhood.
There is a government here, where empty robes float about leading monsters (for muscle) enforce the rules. The main rule, no weapon greater than a knife. If you manage to create one, you have a short period of time to get out of the area before the Magistrate and his monsters will show up. You can appeal to Magistrate for "fairness" in a broken business deal or some such. Those who are caught by the Magistrates fight in The Pitt (Gladatorial Arena) to show their innocense. (Betting at the Pitt is a common exchange of money).
People here came from "else where". Something happened (or nothing, they just woke up here) and they found themselves here. (in fact people will sometimes fade away. Sometimes they will reappear, most times they will not.
This is great for creating one shot characters from the game system of choice. If a player is not there, and you don't want to run the main campaign, everyone pulls out something to run in The Maze.
My Playtest Campaign had two sets in The Maze. The first set is everyone except one person (who frequently could not show up due to work). It has a Jedi, A 22nd C Paramedic, and A telepathic teen from my closed horror campaign), and one guy who could not figure out what he wanted to play. The other crew was two people our constantly missing person (Playing a Samurai) and our one guy who played a wookie.
Originally posted in Gamer Group Traditions
This really isn't a whole night, but just an hour or so. On nights we know someone will show up, but will be late, we run a "Video Game Night".
You get three tokens, one per spawning. No continuity, no nothing. Your characters are just characters in a video game.
I set up the setting. Usually it is a sand filled arena, but I try to spice it up. The last one we did was a room full of 30 foot stone pillars.
You then "spawn". You can fight each other. You can fight ninja minion or giant robots or those guards. They could be moving archery targets far down the map. What ever people are in the mood for.
So we practice combat rules, try new tactics, go through the obstacle course (to get familiar with the various rules and to get a feel for what their characters chances at certain actions are).
We also get to resolve the "My character is tougher than your character debates" and "If I wasn't hampered by this code vs killing, I would kick butt" comments.
Bragging rights about having the highest score or surviving longer when someone else, when they uses up their third token.
(We occassionally give out more tokens to the group. It depends on how late the player is going to be).